FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Civil society organizations widened FAO staff’s knowledge on peasants’ rights and more

A number of civil society organizations conducted a seminar for the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia on 5 July, focusing on the UN Declaration of the Rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. Organizations included the European Coordination via Campesina, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and FIAN.

The one-day event is one of the joint activities that FAO and civil society organizations agreed upon during the Informal Consultation (16-17 May 2019, Budapest), to advance and further strengthen cooperation, and build on each other’s comparative advantages.

The adoption of the United Nations Declaration by the UN General Assembly in 2018 provided Member Nations and international and regional organizations a framework to advance and support the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, along with further guidance on the implementation. The document also represents a key tool in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and complement current and future actions within the UN Decade of Family Farming (2019–2028).

“FAO is looking forward to strengthen its cooperation with the civil society for the upcoming biennium,” said Morten Hartvigsen, FAO Regional Initiative delivery manager. “Especially in the context of the UN Decade of Family Farming and the Declaration.”

Article 27 of UN Declaration of the Rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas calls on specialized UN agencies to contribute to the full realization and implementation of the document, to promote the respect for and the full application of the UN Declaration, and follow up on its implementation.

Many of the civil society organizations who conducted the training, such as the European Coordination via Campesina, has played an important role in negotiating, developing and advocating for the Declaration. Therefore, it is vital that they share their knowledge and help in the implementation at regional and country level.

The Declaration and the UN Decade of Family Farming constitute an integral part of the activities framed by the FAO Regional Initiative on empowering smallholders and family farms.

The seminar has been developed with the following objectives:

  • explain the main concepts and definitions of the Declaration;
  • share with the FAO technical staff at regional, subregional and country level the practical possibilities of using the Declaration in the daily work and for achieving SDGs;
  • discuss main linkages with the UN Decade of Family Farming;
  • assess practical possibilities for FAO staff to implement policies and activities in accordance with the Declaration;
  • ensure that the Regional Initiative on empowering smallholders and family farms is taking the Declaration into account and brings it into action in the framework of the UN Decade of Family Farming ;

The seminar was well attended by FAO technical staff and representatives of country offices, who have discussed possible joint activities to advance implementation of the Declaration and follow-up actions. FAO and civil society organizations agreed upon a few concrete activities, leading to further joint actions. Among others, it was decided to hold a second seminar in late 2019 for FAO technical staff in Europe and Central Asia, who could not attend the first one.

12 July 2019, Budapest, Hungary